I don’t typically dignify ad hominem argumentation with full blog entries, but such tactics are so commonplace nowadays that I think all of us can relate. Anyone who dares make and then defend the biblical case against the sin of homosexuality is immediately demonized and marginalized. And let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned character assassination!
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). We’ve been warned, friends.
As usual my detractors’—or should I say accusers’--words appear bold and italicized. May God add His blessing to your reading.
"I find your lack of humility, respect and charity a stain on the name of Jesus."
Many folks feel the same. They eschew and despise all moral certainty and religious conflict. However, church history, in a sense, is the study of theological debate and discourse. (Even the Lukan-Acts community was at times engaged in theological controversy.) It has been my personal experience and the experience of better men past and present, that to state a belief and then forcefully defend that stated belief, is to leave oneself vulnerable to the charge of pride and arrogance.
To state one's belief and then to defend that belief as being actually true [what Francis Schaeffer called "true Truth"]; to say to one's detractor: "My belief is True and yours is false," is often seen as disrespectful and uncharitable. In a culture deeply committed to philosophical pluralism and moral relativism--I don't see how the would-be apologist can avoid such charges.
That being said, I would never attempt to argue for my own humility. (That would be a little on the counter-productive side!) I believe my pride and arrogance to be just as sinful and at about the same level as yours. Pride is evil.
C.S. Lewis writes of pride: "It is the complete anti-God state of mind." And yet pride can smuggle itself right into the very center of our religious life. One can even pride himself on his own humility! What better or more ubiquitous evidence is there for the total depravity of man than PRIDE?
I am very much aware of the pride in my life, and how utterly ridiculous it is. I am also cognizant of the fact that in defending biblical truth my rhetoric can sometimes get the better of me. Many times, even in theological debate, ego raises its ugly head.
However, while I may sin in my defense of scripture, I do not believe the defense of scripture--or of any Truth--in and of itself is prideful or arrogant. But rather, even our "best works" are thoroughly tainted by sin. God help us!
Thus, it is not prideful or arrogant to believe God's word is the standard in all matters of faith and conduct, and to state and defend that belief. Quite the contrary.
Nor is it a show of humility to say "I don't know" when the Bible is quite clear on the issue at hand [whatever the issue may be]. I am not at all impressed with the "humility" of those who do not take stands [most of them moral] on what the Bible clearly teaches. It is a false and sinful "humility" to substitute one's own judgment for God's.
"Your self-examination is far too superficial...”
Indeed. I don't see how it could be otherwise. Isn't your self-examination far too superficial (c.f. Jer 17:9)? May God deliver us from all of our self-righteousness!
“Bigotry, rather than true exegesis, leads to you rejecting out of hand what you do not want to hear."
And there it is! I believe, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination…. God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful” ” (Lev 18:22; Rom 1:26-27), condemns homosexuality—not because the text is clear—but because I’m a BIGOT! I wonder what a non-bigoted, “true exegesis” of these passages would look like?
“You do not love your brother how can you be living in the light?"
Well...I believe I do love my brother ("love" of course, being defined by scripture). And yet, my love for my brother is imperfect. Would you say your love for the brethren is imperfect? Because we do not and cannot love perfectly, brotherly love cannot be the basis for our living in the light. No, brotherly love is the effect, not the cause; the fruit not the root.
I live in the light of Christ by grace alone, through faith alone, because of the active and passive obedience of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
The Law, even if spoken with a smile and warm fuzzy feelings, CANNOT save us. "Be good. Love people," is LAW, not Gospel. Only the GOSPEL--what God has done for us in the Person and work of His Son--saves sinners.
“You do not care...being ‘right’ TRUMPS all! - lol -"
"Not caring" about others' feelings or opinions is certainly a symptom of pride. And of course, caring more for the feelings/opinions of men than for the Truth of God is also a sure symptom of pride—or perhaps pusillanimity. Those who would enjoy the smile of God must often endure the frowns of men. So what is the proper balance?
Rather than "being right trumps all," which is a pride issue to be sure, let us consider: How important is Truth? How important is correct belief? Does it really matter what we believe--so long as we're sincere? Is any Truth worthy of debate? When or at what point does debate become unworthy of Truth? These are crucial questions for me.
"'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God" (James 4:7).
I pray God will give us grace to humble ourselves so that we will submit to His Lordship, to His word, in every area of our lives in both our actions and attitudes.